Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just Breathe

Take a deep breath. I am starting (again) to have anxiety episodes a lot because of the impending letters I will be writing and sending this week. I know that some people would not recommend me telling my family of my disaffection in a letter, that in person or even on the phone is better, but I feel it is better for everyone involved if I don't. I decided early on that I would send them letters so they could have whatever freak-out session they wanted without having to worry about how their ranting and raving would affect what little testimony they hope I might have. And I will be able to thoughtfully write out what I want to say and not stumble over my words and just cry for 20 minutes before I say, "I no longer believe the church to be True."

My older sister called last week and mentioned how everyone was asking about me at my Grandma's Birthday dinner and that she told everyone she thinks I'm doing ok, but she hasn't talked to me much (I admit I have been avoiding them for the precise reason I am about to share). *She asked me if I have a calling at church, if things with Gluby are uncomfortable when we get home from church, if the boys like church, if I have been much lately. She noticed I was reticent to answer her questions and asked me if it was difficult to talk about because Gluby was nearby or if it was uncomfortable for me to talk about it right now. I said yes. And then she said that everyone is concerned for me because I don't talk about my church callings, or church at all, or my spiritual experiences anymore (we would talk about these things in 90% of our conversations, really) and they are worried about me. You know, "if you aren't progressing and striving to move forward than you are sliding backward" and "we are just worried that you aren't progressing. We want our sister to be in the mansions of heaven with us someday."

M picked that time to start screaming because S was doing something he didn't like. I set the phone down after helping the boys, walked into the office and started crying on Gluby.

And a few days before this took place I was talking to my younger sister on the phone when this pleasant conversation occurred.

*"J (her 3 1/2 yr old son) was telling me how S (my oldest ) is in his primary class and I told him that S is not in his class because he lives in another state. So J asks me if S would be in his primary class if he lived here and I said no because he is older. So then he asks me what primary class S is in and I said, 'I don't know.' Do you know which class S is in?"

"Uh, no, I can't remember. The 4-5 year old class."

At this point S asked me about something and when I went back to the phone conversation we started talking about something else, but we both knew we were still thinking about what had just happened. My heart was beating fast until we got off the phone a few minutes later.

All I need now is for my parents to call and say something. So, I am now at the point where I think I feel ready to tell them. It is harder on everyone that the truth is hidden and it will be easier for us to move forward if it comes out. I am waiting for tax season to end so I don't give my parents a heart attack after adding so much emotional distress to their lives. Oy vey.

* these conversations with my sisters are very rare. They normally consist of, "how are you" "what are your kids/spouse up to" "how's the weather" sort of conversations. They are just now getting the nerve to talk to me about these things because (I'm guessing here) they are really starting to worry and figure that I'm just struggling as a single-mother church attender and don't want to talk about my husband's leaving and that they are helping by asking me questions.


Bishop Rick said...

I love being the first one to comment. Your cursing outburst reminded me of my 4 year old son when he got mad at his 6 year old sister and said every cuss word he could think of:

bugger, fart, dang, bum, spit, Pee Pee, doo doo, snot...

It was the funniest thing you ever saw...he was really mad.

Cele said...

LB I wish you peace, try some chamomile tea or some Kava Kava, and a good dose of meditation.

I maybe off target, because what I see in these conversations is more concern from your syblings about your church experience than concern about you. After you get well into the tea write your letters, but write them for you and your benefit (which I believe is your goal anyway) and then send them off.


aerin said...

I think it must be more difficult to leave - stop attending mormonism after you're an adult and are no longer near your family. I think relationships at this age between adult children and their parents are difficult in general - without the added "seat in heaven" type stuff going on. (Which I won't go into how upset some of that doctrine makes me because it will just make this comment even longer).


I didn't write my extended family - I felt it was none of their business. If they asked me about it - I told them.

One recommendation - I would set some clear boundaries if you can (if you haven't already). I would make it clear that you still love and care about your family. I would let them know when and where you are willing to talk about mormonism (if at all).

For example, at a family event/holiday, you might prefer not to talk about religion. Or just that it's a personal, spiritual thing that you'd rather not discuss with anyone. In the end, you really don't owe them an explanation (my opinion). It should be between you and God/HF/whomever, right? They will (fortunately or unfortunately) come to their own conclusions whatever you send.

AND - I have found that there are many facts/pieces of information that really upset some active mormons if you bring them up (polygamy, MMM, racism, BYU experiments, etc.). My policy is if they start bringing certain things up - I would mention that you may bring things up that they might not want to hear. The conversation works both ways.

I will say, there are things that make me anxious as well that I won't go into in this super long comment. I find that if I identify them and avoid whatever it was that made me anxious (within reason) it was very helpful. Until I could really examine what was going on. It might not be very healthy, but it made my mood much more stable.

Freckle Face Girl said...

I really feel for you and will be crossing my fingers that they will be reasonable about this. I believe in letter writing too. It allows you to get all you need to say out there without interupts. Plus, you can read it a few times and use the exact words you want. Then, they can do their freaking out before discussing it with you.

Lemon Blossom said...

Bishop rick – I'm glad it didn't give you problems posting this time.

Ha, this goes right along with Gluby's thought's about the church keeping you a child. Here I am a 30 year old woman “swearing” like a child. :)

Cele – Thank you. I have only had a few yoga classes since school started this term, but it has already helped me to breathe deeper.

No, you are not totally off target here. They are more concerned about my eternal salvation than how difficult things are right now. I know they will be sad to hear things have been so rough for me (if/when that conversation comes up) but they are really worried about my salvation.

Aerin – I agree that I need to have clear boundaries here, for my sake as well as theirs. We will all feel more comfortable during this difficult time if we know where we can and can't go. This part is hard for me because I don't have any idea where I want those boundaries to be.

FFG – Thank you. Once I started even thinking about talking to them about this I knew I would have to do it in a letter. The points you mentioned were definitely some of the reasons why I wanted to write. No interruptions, we all get time to assimilate the information without pressure and we can all discuss it when we have calmed down a bit. Besides, I wouldn't be able to get anything out in a way that they'd be able to understand anyway.

JulieAnn said...

You're going to be just fine. you have that breathing thing down. There is a light, remember...we're with you and you're not alone!


Lemon Blossom said...

JA - Thank you. Knowing I have support from others has really helped me when I think about the community I am leaving behind.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

I'd say I'm with you but look at how many days later I'm finally reading this?? I feel horrid. I will do all my telling in letter form. For me it's the best way possible. Otherwise I cry nonsensically and they perceive it as confusion and pain when it's just frustration and pain for putting them through it too.

Lemon Blossom said...

No problem, look how long it took me to respond to your comment! I agree, and so would I. I would cry buckets and buckets, and then they would get the wrong idea about why I was crying. Much easier to do it in a letter, for everyone.